Friday, July 10, 2009

If We Care Enough

Friday, July 10, 2009

Flouting prudish sensibilities and oblivious to the curious looks that must be thrown our way, I sat down beside him, the stranger who once gave me flowers and hangs out regularly at the newsstand near my place. Common wisdom dictates that one shouldn’t talk to strangers--particularly old, white men who smile at you whenever you pass by—but I paid it no heed and relied on pure instinct, instead. I talked to him. And while we were exchanging thoughts about seemingly benign topics, I saw a glimpse of the person beneath the stranger--a man who loves life and understands its terms. While others must have written him off as a lubricious, old man running after a younger girl, the quintessential Western expatriate exercising his seigneurial privilege over Asian women, my talking to him proved otherwise.

Time-crunched, self-absorbed professionals we have so become that we tend take for granted people who apparently have no value to us. If only we take time to listen and give our undivided attention to somebody we used to ignore, we would discover how rich and complex his or her character is and how getting to know that person would enrich our lives. If we care enough to forget about ourselves and focus on others instead, we would realize that we don’t have a monopoly on suffering and pain; that we all ache with minor laments, unabashed hopes, acrimonious thoughts, and unappeased dreams.

Everyone has a story to tell. That is, if we care enough to listen.


Anonymous said...

hmm... and you even listened to the phone/calculator man! you are a saint! :)

A said...
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Agnes said...

I like it Angeli.

I also like what you said about the condo community (2nd link). Very nice.

Anonymous said...

this much is true, particularly as I've been guilty of dismissing such folk, ESPECIALLY white man...the eye of history often veils moi from gazing at that which rests under the skin...all vision & no sight.

I should mention that I would mosdefinitely lend ear & of course, buy you flowers...& not the plastic kind.

Anonymous said...

Cultural differences are indicated here. By that I mean it seems that cultural norms in your country may be interpreted and set by one's perceived status. Something like the Victorian 'class' system.

Strange, or perhaps I'm reading something that's not really there!

Angeli said...

@Unstranger, blessingboats

The eye of history. white men. the class system. you got that right. it's been years since we have been given our independence but the colonial mentality of Filipinos still persists. as a colonized people, our deep-seated prejudice against the foreigner--seen both as the oppressor and the savior--colors how we see them. they are simultaneously regarded with awe AND resentment.

(flowers from you, blessingboats? that's sweet of you. thank you. :)

far from being a saint and contrary to what my name (ANGELi) implies, paying attention to others and listening to what to want to share just makes me happy. it's actually a very selfish deed. :)

thank you, Agnes. :)

mordsith said...

and you are brave enough to talk to this kind stranger. :) it's true. if we only have time to listen to others, we'll discover so much more about life and even ourselves.

jacqueline said...

it's nice to know about the world around us through kind stranger's stories, i guess... :)

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